Big 12 News

Cincinnati Basketball Named First Four Out by Joe Lunardi’s Latest Bracketology

Bryant Bulldogs guard Earl Timberlake (0) handles the ball as Cincinnati Bearcats forward Aziz Bandaogo (55) guards him in the first half of the NCAA Basketball game between the Bryant Bulldogs and Cincinnati Bearcats at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.

While the Big 12 Conference gets more respect than any other league in America, one team currently fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament is getting no love from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.

Wes Miller’s Cincinnati Bearcats currently sit in 10th place in the Big 12 Conference but are just two games back from the league leading Houston Cougars. Despite recording some major wins in 2023-24, the Bearcats were listed in the first four out category in the latest bracketology update.


While Lunardi feels that the Bearcats’ resume is not deserving of a tournament entry at this point, he did list nine other Big 12 teams in the bracket despite three of those teams falling to Cincinnati in conference play. Lunardi listed the likes of Kansas, Houston, Baylor, Oklahoma, BYU, Iowa State, TCU, Texas Tech, and Texas in the field with Cincinnati narrowly missing as the unofficial 70th team.

The Bearcats have already recorded three top 25 wins this season in conference play after taking down No. 12 BYU, No. 19 TCU, and No. 15 Texas Tech. The team’s fourth conference win came against UCF, with opportunities to win against No. 14 Baylor and No. 25 Texas being stripped away on last second, buzzer-beater losses.

While Lunardi seems to believe that Cincinnati is less deserving than the likes of the 18-8 Seton Hall Pirates, the Bearcats will have two opportunities for Top 25 wins on Saturday, February 10th against No. 5 Houston, and Tuesday, February 13th against No. 14 Iowa State.

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